Saturday, January 7

The Year of Getting Stuff Done


When I was setting my writing goals for 2016, I designated it as the Year for Getting Stuff Done. I’m not sure exactly how or why it happened, but I finished 2015 with several unfinished, unedited, unsaleable manuscripts languishing on my hard-drive and cluttering my mind. I determined that in the year ahead I was going to finish those books and get them out into the world.

Now that 2016 is over, I have to ask myself: How did I do? Did I finish everything I wanted to finish?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Perhaps part of the problem is that I’m thinking in series these days rather than in individual books. I’m currently working on three romance series, which means I have six books partially completed with several more books in the planning stage. I’ve come to see that this is insanity. Realistically, I can only work on one series at a time, one book at a time.

You know how some people pride themselves on being able to multitask? They figure they can do two or more things at the same time – like send text messages and scroll through Facebook while reading or doing homework. They think they’re getting lots done, but studies have shown they’re fooling themselves. When we concentrate on one task at a time, we not only do a better job on it, we get it done more quickly.
When we multitask, we’re not so much doing two or more things at once as we’re switching back and forth between tasks. Switching back and forth expends much of our attention and energy, and never really allows us to “get in the zone”. I think I may have fallen into this trap. I’ve made some progress on the unfinished books/series from 2015, but I haven’t completely finished any of them.

Perhaps another reason I haven’t completed as much as I would have liked is due to an energy crisis. I only have so much physical/mental/emotional energy to split between my part-time day-job, my home life, my writing, and my marketing efforts. It’s probably not realistic to believe I can complete five or six full-length books in a year and still have a life. Sometimes my ambition outstrips my ability.

I celebrated a milestone birthday last November. In astrology, it’s common to set goals for the twelve months between birthdays rather than creating them at the start of the calendar year. On my birthday, the astrological prediction for my year ahead was as follows: “…get ready for 2017, which will be one of the most powerful years of your life – a time of accumulation. Whatever you have done in the past will now ripen, because it’s your time of fruition.”


I am so looking forward to 2017!

In the year ahead, my goal is to continue steady progress by writing every day (or most every day), to look after myself physically so that I have the energy to do all the things I want to do, and to treat myself kindly. Beating myself up for not meeting unrealistic goals is a waste of energy.

So, fellow Word Wranglers and dear readers, are you thinking about setting realistic goals for 2017? What are they? How do you set goals?

12 comments:

  1. I like those goals, Jana. I think treating yourself kindly is the best advice of all.

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    1. I'm not very good at treating myself kindly, Liz. I tend to think I should get more done, be more successful. I put a lot of pressure on myself. So, this year I'm going for kindness. We'll see how it turns out.

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  2. Great post, Jana--and admirable goals. I like that being kind to yourself is a priority this year. I think kindness needs to be a focus for all of us--to ourselves and to each other. Hugs! Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Nan! Yes, by all means, lets be kind to each other. The world definitely needs more kindness.

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  3. Great goals, Jana! I think realistic goals are key - because realistic goals lead to the fantastic side of things. I think, sometimes, people only think of the fantastic -- losing 100 pounds, getting a million dollar contract, etc -- but don't also set those realistic milestone goals of 'eat right' 'drink more water' 'write the *&( book'. So, I try to set a big yearly/five year goals and lots of smaller goals that will (hopefully) help me get to those bigger goals.

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    1. Good point, Kristina. I believe a person needs "stretch" goals, some big goals to strive for. You're absolutely right in that the way to get there is to set many, many realistic goals in between where you are and where you want to be. So I'll start with "Write every (most) days" and work up to "Finish all my unfinished books." That, and staying away from junk food, though I have to confess, that goal is not going so good.

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  4. Your post makes so much sense to me---probably because I, too, have lived under the illusion that having five or six WIP's going at a time is doable. And none of them gets finished. And I can't say they're in series--because they aren't, they're all over the place. LOL Kind of like my mind at times.

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    1. I confess I have a bit of "Monkey Mind"; I see a shiny new object and I race toward it instead of finishing what I started. I've vowed not to start anything new until I finish the series I'm working on now. Fellow Word Wranglers, you're my witnesses. I need your help sticking to this promise!

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  5. Wow! What a great birthday prediction! Enjoy it to the max!

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    1. This is one prediction I'm really hoping for, Ava!

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  6. This week many of my fellow Word Wranglers came up with words of the year, and I liked the idea so much I decided to come up with one of my own. So my word of the year is --DETERMINATION. I'm determined to write regularly. I'm determined to treat myself better, especially when it comes to what I put in my body. Cut back on the junk food, Jana!

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    1. Excellent word, Jana! That was mine two years ago.

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